The contribution of sluggish cognitive tempo to processing speed in survivors of pediatric brain tumors

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Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) describes a pattern of under-activity, poor initiation, and slowness. It was first reported within the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) literature and found to be positively associated with the inattentive symptoms of ADHD and negatively or not significantly associated with the hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms of ADHD. SCT has since been considered applicable to the pediatric oncology population given the emergence of inattentive, sluggish symptoms secondary to cancer treatment. The present study examined the unique contribution of SCT to various processing speed skills in a clinical sample of pediatric brain tumor (BT) survivors in order to determine the degree to which SCT explained timed “cognitive” processing components. Measures included speeded naming, graphomotor speed, and speeded inhibition. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to predict performance-based measures of processing speed. After controlling for verbal ability and inattention, SCT, particularly Daydreamy SCT (β = −0.698, p = 0.023), explained 28% of variance in speeded inhibition. SCT did not add significantly to the prediction of speeded naming or graphomotor speed. Findings suggest that the “daydreamy” aspect of SCT, rather than “sluggishness” per se, may be related to more complex, cognitively-demanding tasks with greater executive functioning burdens in BT survivors. Implications for intervention for oncology survivors as well as future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-972
Number of pages13
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • ADHD
  • Neuro-oncology
  • SCT
  • executive function
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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